Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Coming in September / Lady Chatterley’s Lover revisited – but is BBC version too steamy or not enough? / Lady Chatterley's Lover: BBC adaptation divides critics as some say it 'borders on porn' and others promise 'no raised eyebrows'

Lady Chatterley’s Lover revisited – but is BBC version too steamy or not enough?

Papers divided over new TV adaptation, with Telegraph regretting absence of ‘sexual language’ and Sun claiming that it ‘borders on porn’

Maev Kennedy

Almost a century after DH Lawrence wrote it and 55 years after the first Penguin paperback edition was cleared of obscenity, Lady Chatterley’s Lover is set to shock again – either because there is too much sex and bad language in a new BBC adaptation, or not enough.

The 90-minute drama, to be broadcast next month, reputedly contains one instance of the word “cock” and one “John Thomas” – the gamekeeper Mellors’s favoured term for the part with which, in one of the more appallingly unforgettable scenes in the book, he enchants Lady Chatterley by entwining with honeysuckle and forget-me-not flowers. But there are no uses at all of the four-letter words “fuck” or “cunt”, which ensured publication of the full text was barred for decades and landed in court in 1960.

There are just three sex scenes, according to the Telegraph. And with apparent regret, it notes: “The passion will be soft-focus and almost all the book’s sexual language will be absent.”

However, the Sun is already working itself up into a muck sweat, promising that the adaptation is “so steamy it borders on porn”, and quoting the producer Serena Cullen as saying: “I have never seen anyone do the things Mellors, the gamekeeper, does to Lady Chatterley. I’m not sure what more we could have shown unless it was for porn.”

Jed Mercurio, who wrote and directed the new version, thinks that trying to shock modern audiences with the original language would be pointless. “Lawrence chose a certain type of language in his book which was then groundbreaking,” he said. “It did not feel that today we would be breaking new ground if we were to use those words. If you want to use certain words you have to justify them, and it did not seem relevant.”

He added: “The idea was to tell this as a love story, a love triangle – to concentrate on the emotions of the characters.”

The Mirror is among several newspapers quoting unnamed BBC insiders gleefully predicting that the broadcaster will pitch the adaptation directly against ITV’s “prim” Downton Abbey, which starts its final run next month.

Lawrence wrote the book in 1927 while terminally ill with tuberculosis. A version was privately printed in 1928, and a heavily bowdlerised version followed in 1932.

It was the publication by Penguin in 1960 of a full – and cheap – paperback edition that sparked a prosecution under the previous year’s Obscene Publications Act, against which the publisher’s only defence was literary merit. Among those who spoke up for the book were the writers EM Forster, Cecil Day-Lewis, Rebecca West and Richard Hoggart, as well as the bishop of Woolwich, John Robinson.

The prosecution’s case was sunk by an appeal to the jury by the chief prosecutor, Mervyn Griffith-Jones, which became as famous as any passage in the book. “Would you approve of your young sons, young daughters – because girls can read as well as boys – reading this book? Is it a book that you would have lying around in your own house? Is it a book that you would even wish your wife or your servants to read?”

Many saw the verdict as a game-changer that ushered in the swinging 60s. Philip Larkin wrote in his poem Annus Mirabilis: “Sexual intercourse began/ In nineteen sixty-three/(which was rather late for me) /Between the end of the Chatterley ban/ And the Beatles’ first LP.”

In 1962 Penguin published a second edition dedicated to “the twelve jurors, three women and nine men who returned a verdict of ‘not guilty’ and thus made DH Lawrence’s last novel available for the first time to the public in the United Kingdom”.

Lady Chatterley herself and many readers have found Lawrence’s use of dialect more challenging than the sex scenes. “Ah luv thee, thy legs, an’ th’ shape on thee, an’ th’ womanness on thee. Ah luv th’ womanness on thee. Ah luv thee wi’ my balls an’ wi’ my heart. But dunna ax me nowt,” Mellors declares rapturously at one point.

The book has been filmed several times: a 1993 television version had Joely Richardson and Sean Bean cavorting in the woods. The new version stars Richard Madden, best known as Robb Stark in Game of Thrones, as Mellors grappling with Holliday Grainger as Lady Chatterley.

James Norton, last seen as a lovestruck and frequently hungover clergyman detective in Grantchester, spends most of the film confined to a wheelchair in the thankless role of Sir Clifford Chatterley. The character returns from the first world war paralysed from the waist down, and unlike Matthew Crawley’s character in Downton Abbey, there is no miraculous recovery to rampant good health.

At the programme launch, Norton said the role was so taxing that at one point he blacked out, but that, like the trooper he is, he hoped the frames of him struggling for breath survived into the final edit.

Lady Chatterley's Lover: BBC adaptation divides critics as some say it 'borders on porn' and others promise 'no raised eyebrows'

Downton Abbey will be getting some hot new Sunday night competition, quite literally, when the BBC's adaptation of Lady Chatterley's Lover hits our living rooms next month.

Critics' reactions to an early screening of the one-off DH Lawrence period drama have been mixed, with some papers promising "sexual gymnastics" that "borders on porn" while others insist there will be no "explicit nude scenes" or "raised eyebrows over supper".

Holliday Grainger takes the lead as Lady Constance Chatterley, with James Norton playing her "war-wounded" impotent husband Sir Clifford Chatterley and former Game of Thrones star Richard Madden as gamekeeper Oliver Mellors.

Written and directed by Bafta nominee Jed Mercurio, the show tells the early 20th century story of Lady Chatterley's passionate love affair with Mellors despite their class differences.

The original 1928 novel was censored in Britain for over 30 years for its obscene language and graphic sex scenes. But while the raunchiness of the three sex scenes is under debate, Lawrence's four-letter words do not feature in the new adaptation as Mercurio did not see them as "groundbreaking" anymore.

"That battle has been won. The idea was to tell this as a love story, a love triangle. Swearing or sex scenes don't excite me because they don't have emotional content," he told reporters at the advance screening.

"I think that putting Lady Chatterley at the centre and making her a much more thinking person, much more decisive, was one of the most important things."
The BBC's 1993 take on Lady Chatterley's Lover, starring Joely Richardson and Sean Bean, attracted viewer complaints for its full frontal nudity, but Madden has also spoken about not feeling the need to shock this time around.

"Come on guys, we've got Google. There's nothing that's going to shock us that we're going to do in Lady Chatterley's Lover is there?" Madden told the Press Association in March.

"All that stigma, all that smut's gone and it's actually it's just about these three people which is the fascinating story of it. There's sex and passion in it but we're not going to shock people like the book did."

There will however be one scene in which Lady Chatterley runs to Mellors in the middle of a storm, wearing only her nightdress. He performs a sex act on her outside his cabin, but both apparently remain fully-clothed.

BBC bosses will be hoping for a repeat of the success of its Poldark remake, watched by around eight million people earlier this year.

Lady Chatterley's Lover is yet to receive an air date but it will be broadcast one Sunday in September as part of a BBC One series of classic literary adaptations, also including The Go Between by LP Hartley, Cider with Rosie by Laurie Lee an An Inspector Calls by JB  

Lady Chatterley's Lover: Trailer - BBC One

Sunday, 16 August 2015

A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol, presented by Stephen Smith, is on BBC4 on 25 August /Vídeo: Factory Girl Trailer

BBC Four
A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol, presented by Stephen Smith, is on BBC4 on 25 August as part of the series BBC4 Goes Pop.
A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol
Stephen Smith meets with many of Andy Warhol's friends and confidantes to get closer to the man behind the enigmatic public image, experiencing for himself a day in the life of the pop art superstar. From recreating Warhol's intimate early morning chats with Factory star Brigid Polk to visiting the church where Warhol worshipped with his mother, discovering new details about the making of the notorious eight-hour Empire State Building film with assistant Gerard Malanga to spending time with Warhol's lover and collaborator John Giorno, Smith provides an entertaining and fresh new portrait of the legendary artist's life and personality.

Andy Warhol
'He loved weightlifting and buying jewels': Andy Warhol's friends reveal all
He worked out all the time, loved sex (contrary to popular belief), was a father figure to rejects – and would chat on the phone for hours. The people closest to Andy Warhol uncover his hidden side

Stephen Smith

We all know Andy, the alien in the fright wig with his Marilyns and Elvises, who died at the age of 58 from complications to gall-bladder surgery. Most artists are referred to by their proper but distancing surnames – Constable, Matisse – but he’s one of very few to achieve the ultimate signifier of fame, recognition on first-name terms (we might also allow “Vincent” in deference to Don McLean). Most of us could even manage a thumbnail sketch of the life: pop art, Studio 54, Mick and Bianca. Warhol was the notorious voyeur who shot sex tapes avant la lettre, albeit gussied up as art films, all the while insisting that he himself was a virgin – that’s when you could prise a word out of him beyond a “Gee!” or a “My!” He was the seven-stone weakling who hid from the world behind his platinum toupées and Ray-Bans. He was affectless, amoral, his campy work emerging haphazardly from the druggy haze of his studio, the Factory, where a miscellany of misfits and poor little rich kids crashed and burned while Warhol looked on with what John Updike called his “deadpan rapture”.

That, at least, is the boilerplate biography. But after talking to many survivors of Warhol’s circle in New York, including his relatives as well as an associate who was close to the artist for many years but has never spoken at length before, I discovered a very different version of the man, a long way from the dead-eyed Martian of legend. And I came away with a renewed respect for his uncanny prescience in anticipating our fascination with brands, celebrity, even selfies. Warhol was the painter of modern life.

To start at the top, with Warhol’s crowning glory: it’s true that he was a great one for affecting ever bolder, and more unabashedly synthetic, confections as he grew accustomed to the spotlight. But the first time he wore a wig, it was out of a very human self-consciousness, after a nervous illness in his youth left his body completely hairless. With a flair for publicity which was characteristic and innate, Warhol eventually parlayed his baldness into a plus. According to Victor Bockris, an Englishman from Brighton who worked for Warhol at the Factory in the 1970s, Warhol realised that America didn’t know its artists. The generation who immediately preceded him were the abstract expressionists, scowling introspectives such as Jackson Pollock and Mark Rothko. They would only unburden themselves, if at all, to toney art critics, and even then in terms that lay readers might struggle to grasp. But Warhol, the man who turned the everyday of American life into art – dollar bills, soup cans, Brillo-pad boxes – pulled off the same trick in reverse, making an artificial or at least contrived version of “Andy Warhol” part of everyone’s scenery. “What did all Americans immediately get? Cartoons, comic strips,” Bockris said. “So Andy became a cartoon, the Donald Duck of art.” He wore the same things every day – leather jacket, black jeans, sneakers – ensuring that he leapt out of the paparazzi pictures in the New York Post. “And he looked after himself,” Bockris said. “Andy worked out. He went to the gym and lifted weights.”

Andy Warhol worked out?!

John Richardson, the acclaimed biographer of Picasso, compared Warhol to a “holy fool”, a figure associated with the eastern traditions of the remote sliver of land where the Warhol (originally Warhola) family hailed from, Carpathian Ruthenia in the former Austro-Hungarian empire. Warhol’s on-off friend Truman Capote called him “a Sphinx without a secret”. But his reputation for mute inscrutability isn’t altogether justified. Yes, it won him that priceless fascination that we reserve for the silent – Kate Moss, the Queen. Warhol let the praise and abuse heaped on his art and his person go without comment in public, but it was a different matter behind closed doors, according to his nephew, James Warhola. In his childhood, James and his brothers often stayed at their uncle’s townhouse on Lexington Avenue, a cabinet of curiosities, as he remembered it, with “carousel horses and cigar-store Indians”. A lithe and youthful 60, James has inherited something of the dreamy wonder of his famous relative. “When we were all together as a family, my mom would sometimes question Uncle Andy about his art. You know, ‘What’s that meant to be?’, or even ‘Why are you wasting your time on this?’ And he would give as good as he got – not in a hostile way, but saying that this was his work, it had value and importance for him. He had studied art and was very knowledgeable.”

We were sitting in a pew at the Church of St Thomas More, a block or so from Andy’s old home. It was a slightly ersatz copy of an English parish church, the sodium lighting giving the interior an embalmed quality. “My uncle would sometimes bring us here,” James said. It in no way put Warhol off that his fellow worshippers included some of the most distinguished old-money families of Manhattan. But he came to church because he was faithful to the old religion of his mother country, Byzantine Catholicism (the Roman version was the next best thing, and more conveniently situated for Lexington Avenue). James said there were crucifixes in every room of his uncle’s house, including one above his (four-poster) bed. The first time Richardson called on Warhol at home, he was struck by “the gleam, the hush, and the peace of a presbytery”.

The artist never talked about religion, any more than he did about anything else. But it’s often overlooked that he wrote half a dozen books, including a novel and some 1,200 pages of diaries, admittedly with the help of ghostwriters (“he dictated every word of it himself”, Bockris pointed out). In fact, Warhol is perhaps the most quotable artist of all time, with a line on everything from his supposedly non-existent love life to his thoughts on everyday products. “What’s great about this country is that America started the tradition where the richest consumers buy essentially the same things as the poorest. You can be watching TV and see Coca-Cola, and you know that the President drinks Coke, Liz Taylor drinks Coke, and just think, you can drink Coke, too. A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.” Incidentally, it’s hard to read that paean to the downhome American values of apple pie and K-Mart as the ravings of a degenerate fag, as J Edgar Hoover might have put it. (The FBI boss once dispatched two of his men to the San Francisco film festival, to scrutinise Warhol’s allegedly subversive movie, Lonesome Cowboys, made in 1968. “There was no plot to the film and no development of characters,” noted the Feds.)

And what about the films? There’s no doubt about the period shock value of Warhol’s Blow Job (1964), for example. Except the viewer only sees the lucky or otherwise recipient, a man by the name of DeVeren Bookwalter, from the waist up. Warhol liked to provoke, but what he really wanted was to be taken seriously by the big boys in Hollywood, and perhaps even to join them one day; to hear the name of the Factory uttered in the same breath as Universal and Warner Brothers.

At his apartment in Brooklyn, the veteran film-maker Jonas Mekas and I spooled through rushes he shot back in the 70s and had never shown anyone before. On the magic lantern of his ancient Moviola screen, Andy Warhol sprang to life once more – brick-red polo-neck, slacks, wig. He was operating his movie camera on a beach at Cape Cod, filming a couple of boys playing rough and tumble. One of them was John Kennedy Jr, JFK’s son. Warhol is known for his awestruck, fan’s-eye-view silkscreen prints of John Jr’s mother, Jackie, but it’s forgotten now that this “freak” who hung out with junkies and losers was also a habitué of Camelot, JFK’s inner circle.

Mekas, the 92-year-old doyen of New York’s underground film scene, was the first to screen Warhol’s releases, patiently lacing up mile upon mile of Warhol’s unblinking cinematography. He told me: “I don’t know about his art, but he is a genius of film.” Just as an old master picture shows us what paint can do, so Warhol’s fanatically unhurried cinema – Empire (1964) consists of a single shot of the Empire State Building running to eight hours and five minutes – demonstrates to the viewer the penetrating insight of the camera. To those who can stick it out, that is. “At the premiere, I insisted that Andy must watch the film like everyone else. Because he is always so busy, he will go after some minutes.” Mekas produced a length of rope and ran it through his fingers. The still sinewy auteur began looping it around my chair. “So I tied him up – like this! Of course when I looked at Andy later, he had freed himself and he was gone.”

What about Warhol’s relationships with others? According to art world lore, he looked on with a kind of glassy ecstasy at the self-harming antics of the low-lifes and bored heiresses who gravitated to his studio, some of whom met premature deaths.

“Listen, those people would have been dead earlier if it wasn’t for Andy Warhol,” Mekas said. “He was the only one who would take them in. He was the perfect father – he didn’t judge people who had been judged and rejected by everybody else.”

‘Baby’ Jane Holzer is referenced in Roxy Music’s ‘Virginia Plain’
One person who’s in a position to know is “Baby” Jane Holzer, one of Andy’s “superstars” – an actor who appeared in three of his movies and was a denizen of the Factory. The daughter of a real-estate investor, she married the heir to a New York property fortune. She was hymned by Roxy Music in their hit “Virginia Plain” (“Baby Jane’s in Acapulco / We are flying down to Rio”) and immortalised by Tom Wolfe as “The Girl of the Year” in his groundbreaking book of essays, The Kandy-Kolored Tangerine-Flake Streamline Baby. Now a formidable art patron, Holzer still trails a hint of mischief behind her, like prom night perfume. We met at Bloomingdale’s, where the management had set an entire floor aside for their valued customer. She first ran into Warhol when she was shopping with David Bailey and Nicky Haslam, and the pair of them hailed Warhol across the street.


Why did you hang out with him? “It was better than being a bored housewife,” she deadpans. What did he shop for? “Jewels, darling. He adored jewels.”

Holzer was renowned for her sex appeal back in the day. Wasn’t she afraid of being hit on at the Factory? “Actually, I found it restful,” she said. “I would go there to sleep.”

Factory insiders told me that far from being a den of iniquity, it was more like the art faculty at the University of Life. Joseph Freeman first attended aged 13, and was soon exposed to amphetamine-users injecting themselves “in the tush”. But to Little Joey, as he then was, a streetwise kid growing up just after the era of the Sharks and Jets of West Side Story, it was all so much water off a DA haircut. “It was one of the best times of my life.” These days, Freeman is a businessman leasing out kit to TV crews. He has seldom spoken of his days with Warhol. The unlikely pair bonded over a shared interest in hi-fi. “I was a dork and the dorky thing back then was taping. I saw Andy on the cover of my favourite hi-fi magazine and I knew I had to meet him,” Freeman said. It was his job to rouse Warhol and get him to work on time. “He was turning up at the Factory at 6pm. It was too late – people needed to see him, he had to take care of business.”

He loved talking on the phone ... He just seemed to understand what would make teenage boys kill themselves laughing
Fortified by a breakfast of Cheerios, Warhol would hail a taxi, or at least try to. On a Lexington kerbside, Freeman mimed a frail dowager shooing wasps. “That’s why he needed me with him” – the pint-sized Joey would cajole or menace cabbies into pulling over. Freeman told me that he and a pal used to phone Warhol on Sunday mornings. “He was at home then and he loved talking on the phone. He’d talk for hours. We’d say: ‘What are you doing, Andy?’ and he’d say: ‘Oh, I’m sucking cock.’ I mean, we fell about.”

That was hardly an appropriate thing to tell a 13-year-old boy. “I guess not. But he just seemed to understand what would make teenage boys kill themselves laughing.”

Warhol appeared to be obsessed with other people’s sex lives, asking female friends about their dates and how well-endowed they were. But he wasn’t the frustrated virgin of his own myth-making. John Giorno, a poet and artist, was the star of his first film, Sleep (1963): five hours of the male lead catching zeds.

“You’ve been described as Warhol’s ‘close friend’?”

Giorno smiled. “Yes.”

“But you were lovers?”

“Yes.” Tall and distinguished, with a lived-in Roman face and a corona of white hair, Giorno spoke to me at his loft in the Bowery. It was once home to the trigger-happy writer William Burroughs, whose perforated firing-range targets still bared their stigmata on the walls. Giorno told me the most extraordinary and moving thing about Warhol. “You know, he had a beautiful body. He was taking diet pills – basically, speed – and he was working all the time, working with his hands, making the silkscreen prints, which is quite a physical job. So he was slim and he had really good muscle definition. Plus he had no hair, and his origins were in eastern Europe, so he had really pale skin.”

But he always thought of himself as very ugly?

“That’s right, but he was like a Renaissance statue,” said Giorno.

This was Warhol’s greatest secret. The artist whose career ran in parallel with the cold war was a double agent. He was as American as Donald Duck, but true to his eastern ancestry, he was really a Russian doll, and inside the cartoon character was a man with the beauty and grace of a ballet dancer.

• A Day in the Life of Andy Warhol, presented by Stephen Smith, is on BBC4 on 25 August as part of the series BBC4 Goes Pop.

Saturday, 15 August 2015


MTV President Splurges on Warhol's 66th Street Mansion
By Deborah Schoeneman and Carmela Ciuraru
January 23, 2000 | 7:00 p.m
Andy Warhol lived at 57 East 66th Street from 1974 until his death in 1987, dwelling there longer than anyone who has since tried to call the town house home–first a Spanish family and then an American gentleman. Maybe they were spooked by the secret trap door in the master bedroom or tales of the sordid findings of the appraisers who scoured the place after Warhol's death: green boxes of wings stacked near a television set, a medicine cabinet filled with makeup tubes and perfume bottles, and women's jewelry nestled in the four-poster canopy bed.
Now it's Tom Freston's turn. The Warhol mansion was purchased by the chairman of MTV for around $6.5 million in early January. Mr. Freston confirmed that he purchased the house, but did not wish to comment.
The 8,000-square-foot house is a hefty piece of memorabilia. Warhol bought it for $310,000 and hired decorator Jed Johnson. Together they merged their tastes in art deco with primitive contemporary paintings (none of his own) and religious emblems. Soon after Warhol's death, someone stole the street number–57–from the facade. (That prompted the Spanish family who purchased the house from Warhol's estate to erect a gate out front, which has since been removed.) On Aug. 6, 1998, in celebration of Mr. Warhol's 70th birthday, Barbaralee Diamonstein-Spielvogel's Historic Landmark Preservation Center dedicated a plaque to the town house to honor the artist–the first memorial to Warhol in the city. There was, of course, a large gathering in front of the residence for the occasion.
One broker considers $6.5 million a fair price. "It's a great old house," the broker said. "Andy never did a major rehab of it. He left a lot of detail that people appreciate like trade moldings and fireplaces." The Spanish family paid the estate $3 million, but never moved in, and the last owner, who purchased the house in 1993 for $3.35 million, did some upgrading but kept the architecture intact.
The five-and-a-half-story neoclassical house has four bedrooms, a library with Juliet balconies, six fireplaces, central air-conditioning and an elevator.
Vincent Fremont, a friend of Warhol's, remembers house-sitting for the artist while he was in Japan for two weeks in 1974. "Very few people ever got into the house. It was a private hideaway," he said. "It had a nice parlor, a staircase and a formal dining room, which Andy never used after the late 70's because he liked to eat in the downstairs kitchen."
Mr. Freston and Warhol met over Warhol's television show Fifteen Minutes , said Mr. Fremont, who produced the show. Fifteen Minutes ran on MTV from 1986 to 1987. "It's kind of interesting that after all these years he bought it," said Mr. Fremont. "It's kind of terrific."
The fate of Mr. Freston's TriBeCa condominium on the top floor of 39 North Moore Street, which he bought in 1994, is unknown.

58 years old - 28 years, 6 months and 26 days old ...


Andy Warhol, a founder of Pop Art whose paintings and prints of Presidents, movie stars, soup cans and other icons of America made him one of the most famous artists in the world, died yesterday. He was believed to be 58 years old.

The artist died at the New York Hospital-Cornell Medical Center in Manhattan, where he underwent gall bladder surgery Saturday. His condition was stable after the operation, according to a hospital spokeswoman, Ricki Glantz, but he had a heart attack in his sleep around 5:30 A.M.

Though best known for his earliest works - including his silk-screen image of a Campbell's soup can and a wood sculpture painted like a box of Brillo pads - Mr. Warhol's career included successful forays into photography, movie making, writing and magazine publishing.

He founded Interview magazine in 1969, and in recent years both he and his work were increasingly in the public eye - on national magazine covers, in society columns and in television advertisements for computers, cars, cameras and liquors.

In all these endeavors, Mr. Warhol's keenest talents were for attracting publicity, for uttering the unforgettable quote and for finding the single visual image that would most shock and endure. That his art could attract and maintain the public interest made him among the most influential and widely emulated artists of his time.

Although himself shy and quiet, Mr. Warhol attracted dozens of followers who were anything but quiet, and the combination of his genius and their energy produced dozens of notorious events throughout his career. In the mid-1960's, he sometimes sent a Warhol look alike to speak for him at lecture engagements, and his Manhattan studio, ''the Factory,'' was a legendary hangout for other artists and hangers-on.

In 1968, however, a would-be follower shot and critically wounded Mr. Warhol at the Factory. After more than a year of recuperation, Mr. Warhol returned to his career, which he increasingly devoted to documenting, with Polaroid pictures and large silk-screen prints, political and entertainment figures. He started his magazine, and soon became a fixture on the fashion and jet-set social scene.

In the 1980's, after a relatively quiet period in his career, Mr. Warhol burst back onto the contemporary art scene as a mentor and friend to young artists, including Keith Haring, Kenny Scharf and Jean-Michel Basquiat. With Mr. Basquiat, Mr. Warhol collaborated on a series of paintings in which he shunned mechanical reproduction techniques and painted individual canvases for the first time since the early 1960's.

He never denied his obsession with art as a business and with getting publicity; instead, he proclaimed them as philosophical tenets.

''Being good in business is the most fascinating kind of art,'' he said on one occasion. On another, he said: ''Art? That's a man's name.'' As widely known as his art and his own image were, however, Mr. Warhol himself was something of a cipher. He was uneasy while speaking about himself. ''The interviewer should just tell me the words he wants me to say and I'll repeat them after him,'' he once said. Date of Birth Uncertain

The earliest facts of his life remain unclear. He was born somewhere in Pennsylvania in either 1928, 1929 or 1930, according to three known versions of his life. (The most commonly accepted date is Aug. 6, 1928.) The son of immigrant parents from Czechoslovakia, his father a coal miner - the family's name was Warhola -he attended the Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie-Mellon University), from which he graduated with a degree in pictorial design in 1949.

He immediately set out for New York, where he changed his name to Warhol and began a career as an illustrator and a commerical artist, working for Tiffany's, Bonwit Teller's, Vogue, Glamour, The New York Times and other magazines and department stores.

By the late 1950's, he was highly successful, having earned enough money to move to a town house in Midtown, and having received numerous professional prizes and awards. Despite his success, however, he increasingly considered trying his hand at making paintings, and in 1960 he did so with a series of pictures based on comic strips, including Superman and Dick Tracy, and on Coca-Cola bottles.

Success, however, was not immediate. Leo Castelli, the art dealer best known for discovering the artists Jasper Johns and Robert Rauschenberg, saw Mr. Warhol's paintings but declined to show his work, since Roy Lichtenstein, who also painted pictures taken from comic strips, was already represented by the gallery. Ivan Karp, a talent scout for Castelli who discovered Mr. Warhol, tried to help him find a New York gallery that would show his work, with no success. The Birth of a Movement

In 1962, the dam broke, with Mr. Warhol's first exhibition of the Campbell's soup cans at the Ferus Gallery in Los Angeles, and his show of other works at the Sidney Janis Gallery in New York. Other Pop artists, including Mr. Lichtenstein, James Rosenquist and Tom Wesselman also began to achieve prominence around the country at the time, and the movement was born.

Though some of Mr. Warhol's first Pop Art paintings had drips on them - evidence that the painter's hand had left its mark on the work - by 1963 Mr. Warhol had dispensed with the brush altogether. Instead, he turned to exclusively hard-edged images made in the medium of silk-screen print, which made a depersonalized image that became Mr. Warhol's trademark.

''Painting a soup can is not in itself a radical act,'' the critic Robert Hughes wrote in 1971. ''But what was radical in Warhol was that he adapted the means of production of soup cans to the way he produced paintings, turning them out en masse - consumer art mimicking the the process as well as the look of consumer culture.''

In 1964 Mr. Warhol was taken on by the Castelli Gallery, which remained his art dealer until his death. His experimentation with underground films began around that time - an interest that culminated in widespread notoriety if not overwhelming box office acclaim.

''Eat,'' a 45-minute film, showed the artist Robert Indiana eating a mushroom. ''Haircut'' showed a Warhol groupie having his hair cut over a span of 33 minutes, and another, ''Poor Little Rich Girl,'' was filmed out of focus and showed Edie Sedgwick, a Warhol follower who became a celebrity on the New York social circuit, talking about herself.

In the 1970's, recuperated from his near fatal gunshot wound, Mr. Warhol settled down to a sustained creative period in which his fame as a society figure leveled off, but his output, if anything, increased. Working most often in silk-screen prints, he made series of pictures of political and Hollywood celebrities, including Mao, Liza Minelli, Jimmy Carter and Russell Banks.

In 1975, he published ''The Philosophy of Andy Warhol (From A to B and Back Again),'' a collection of statements and epigrams that elucidated his contrary views on art.

In his glancing and elliptical style, Mr. Warhol wrote about subjects ranging from art to money and sex. ''Checks aren't money,'' he wrote in one section of the book. In another, he said: ''Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting. The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.''

In the 1980's, Mr. Warhol became more active in commissioned art projects and a variety of other commercial activties. In 1983, he made a series of prints - based on animals of endangered species - that was first shown at the American Museum of Natural History. A Near Exception

Although some of his later art projects seemed to diverge from his calculating approach and to be motivated in part by social concern, Mr. Warhol generally avoided any such suggestion. He came closest to making an exception in 1985, when he exhibited a group of prints of clowns, robots, monkeys and other images he made for children at the Newport (R.I.) Art Museum in 1985.

''It's just that the show's for children,'' he told a reporter at the time. ''I wanted it arranged for them. The Newport Museum agreed to hang all of my children's pictures at levels where only kids could really see them.''

After the news of his death was publicized yesterday, artists, celebrities and politicians who knew Mr. Warhol spoke of his influence on culture, and on their lives.

''He had this wry, sardonic knack for dismissing history and putting his finger on public taste, which to me was evidence of living in the present,'' said the sculptor George Segal. ''Every generation of artists has the huge problem of finding their own language and talking about their own experience. He was out front with several others of his generation in pinning down how it was to live in the 60's, 70's and 80's.''

Leo Castelli, Mr. Warhol's dealer of 23 years, said Mr. Warhol, more than practically any artist of the last two decades, seemed to have a continuing and strong influence on today's emerging artists. ''Of all the painters of his generation he's still the one most influential on the younger artists - a real guru,'' Mr. Castelli said.

Martha Graham, the dancer and choreographer, recalled her first meeting with Warhol. ''When I first met Andy, he confided to me that he was born in Pittsburgh as I was, and that when he first saw me dance 'Appalachian Spring' it touched him deeply. He touched me deeply as well. He was a gifted, strange maverick who crossed my life with great generosity. His last act was the gift of three portraits [ of Miss Graham ] he donated to my company to help my company meet its financial needs.''

In his book, ''The Philosophy of Andy Warhol,'' the artist wrote a short chap=ter entitled ''Death'' that consisted almost entirely of these words: ''I'm so sorry to hear about it. I just thought that things were magic and that it would never happen.''

Dr. Elliot M. Gross, the Chief Medical Examiner for New York City, said an autopsy on Mr. Warhol would be conducted today. Dr. Gross explained that deaths occurring during surgery or shortly afterward are considered deaths of an ''unusual manner.''

''It was an unexplained death of a relatively young person in apparently good health,'' he said.

Mr. Warhol is survived by two brothers, John Warhola and Paul Warhola, both of Pittsburgh.

Edie Sedgwick: The life and death of the Sixties star
Rich, gorgeous and well-connected, Edie Sedgwick was the party girl who lit up Andy Warhol's golden circle. As her life story comes to the screen, Rhoda Koenig unravels a very Sixties tragedy

"Her fog, her amphetamine, and her pearls..." With three nouns, in "Just Like a Woman" (said to have been inspired by her), Bob Dylan deftly summed up his friend Edie Sedgwick, the wayward princess of Andy Warhol's multimedia Factory.

More than 30 years after her short, tumultuous life ended, Edie is still causing ructions. Last month, Dylan threatened to sue the makers of Factory Girl, a movie starring Sienna Miller as Edie, claiming that he is defamed by Hayden Christensen's portrayal of a singer whose rejection drives her to suicide.

This week, Edie's brother claimed that despite Dylan's insistence that he and Edie never had a relationship, she became pregnant with his child and had an abortion. The producers describe the harmonica-playing character (named "Quinn" in the press notes, but never called by name in the movie and identified only as "musician" in the credits) as a composite - which Dylan's lawyer argues is no bar to defamation.

The movie, which was frantically re-cut prior to its Oscar-qualifying release at one theatre in Los Angeles (though the director George Hickenlooper says the changes had nothing to do with Dylan's objections) will be edited again before its wider US release later this month.

Early reviews have been mixed, with The Hollywood Reporter praising its "bright intensity" and saying that Miller "brings to life Sedgwick's legendary allure"; the Los Angeles Times calling it "simplistic" and "superficial"; and Variety finding the movie "tame" and Miller "whiny".

It's no surprise, though, that the film should provoke reactions as varied as Edie herself did. To parents terrified of the influence of sex and drugs, she was an abomination; to the would-be cool, she was an ideal; to painters as eminent as Robert Rauschenberg, she was a living work of art.


American aristocracy ruled that a lady's name should appear in the papers only three times: when she was born, when she married, and when she died. Edie Sedgwick changed that. As well as publicising her appearances in underground movies, her numerous committals for mental illness and drug addiction were widely reported. She met her future husband - a fellow patient - in the psychiatric wing of the hospital where she was born. On the last evening of her life, in 1971, she appeared on television, and then went home to die of an overdose of barbiturates. She was 28.

Edie's troubles began long before she was born. Her distinguished New England lineage (a Sedgwick was Speaker of the House of Representatives under George Washington, another edited the Atlantic Monthly for a generation) was also distinguished by hereditary madness, as far back as the Speaker's wife.

Edie's father (whose own father had moved his family to southern California) had two nervous breakdowns soon after leaving university, and his wife was told by her doctors that she must never have children. But the rich do not like being told what to do, and the Sedgwicks were rich-rich (not only had Edie's family inherited millions; oil was discovered on their property, enough to sink 17 wells).

Mrs Sedgwick defied doctors and fate and had eight children, two of whom died before Edie - one hanged himself, the other rode his motorcycle into a bus. As a father, Francis Minturn "Duke" Sedgwick was larger than life and much more terrible. A career as a monumental sculptor and owner of a ranch that was his own little dukedom (the children were tutored at home, and seldom left it) did not exhaust his energies. He seduced, or at least made advances to, his wife's friends, his children's friends and, Edie said, to her.


When Edie left California for Radcliffe, the women's college of Harvard (the Sedgwick alma mater), she had already spent time in mental hospitals, suffered from anorexia and had an abortion. What men saw, however, was a delicate beauty and an appealingly vulnerable quality. "Every boy at Harvard," said a former classmate, "was trying to save Edie from herself."

The less high-minded boys flocked to Edie for other reasons - even at wealthy Harvard, there were not too many students who drove their own Mercedes, or were so uninhibited. At one boy's Sunday family lunch, she left the table, walked out on to the lawn, stripped to her knickers and lay down to sunbathe.

Bored in Boston, Edie decided to swap the role of college girl for party girl and moved to New York, into the 14-room Park Avenue apartment of her obliging grandmother. At 21, she came into money of her own and got a flat - and clothes, clothes, clothes. Her stick figure, huge eyes and chopped-off hair suited the style of the early Sixties - Jean Seberg in the movies, Twiggy in the glossies- and Edie was, briefly, on the fashion pages.

Life magazine said she was "doing more for black tights than anybody since Hamlet". The Vogue empress Diana Vreeland praised her "anthracite-black eyes and legs to swoon over... She is shown here arabesquing on her leather rhino to a record of The Kinks." But, well before heroin chic, her drug-taking was becoming so notorious that editors stopped calling.

In 1965, Edie met an impresario who was more her style: Andy Warhol. Warhol and Edie were, horribly, made for each other. The Pittsburgh boy, son of Polish immigrants, wanted the Wasp heiress's company more fervently than any straight man wanted her body; the neglected daughter craved the obsessive attention of a famous man who demanded nothing from her in return. "If you had a father who read the paper at the dinner table," said Viva, another of Warhol's film-stars, "and you had to go up and turn his chin to even get him to look at you, then you had Andy, who would press the 'on' button of the Sony the minute you opened your mouth."

Edie introduced Warhol to her real father, but their one meeting was not a success. The artist thought Duke Sedgwick the most handsome older man he had ever seen, but the rancher said afterwards: "Why, the guy's a screaming fag!"

Warhol's clothes became smarter under Edie's influence, and she dyed her hair silver to match his. "I thought at first it was exploitative on Andy's part," says the photographer Fred Eberstadt. "Then I changed my mind and decided, if it was exploitative on any part, maybe it was Edie's."

"Edie and Andy," the non-couple, were the couple of the moment. She took him to parties where everyone else was listed in the Social Register; he stage-managed her appearances, pushing Edie to the cameras and the microphones, where she was white with fear but loved every minute.

Edie became an habitué of the Factory, Warhol's loft papered in aluminium foil, where the daytime was spent churning out silkscreen prints and the night on parties that mingled guests who contributed flash, trash and cash with a smorgasbord of illegal stimulants. (Some left the place in limousines, some in ambulances, a regular said.)

Flash-bulbs popped and crowds on the wrong side of the rope screamed when Edie turned up in leotards and her grandmother's leopard coat. The Velvet Underground, Warhol's rock band, wrote a song, "Femme Fatale", about her. Warhol put her in a movie called Horse, which, contrary to what one might have expected from the title, was actually about a horse. The actors, in cowboy gear, were brought together with the stallion and a placard was held up that read: "Approach the horse sexually, everybody." Edie was lucky for once - the indignant horse kicked someone else in the head.


Edie appeared in Beauty Part II, her nervous radiance apparent from the first. George Plimpton, a fellow aristocrat (who, with Jean Stein, later put together the oral biography Edie) remembered seeing the film, in which Edie, in bra and pants, lounged on a bed with a man pawing her, while an offstage voice gave her instructions. "Her head would come up, like an animal suddenly alert at the edge of a waterhole, and she'd stare across the bed at her inquisitor in the shadows... I couldn't get the film out of my mind."

Other films included Restaurant, Kitchen and the cruelly titled Poor Little Rich Girl, with Edie back in bed in her underwear, putting on make-up or answering offscreen questions in an offhand way. Her dreaminess, like her hysteria, was fuelled by cocaine, alcohol, uppers and downers, alone or combined.

Edie's favourite was a speedball - a shot of amphetamine in one arm, heroin in the other. Several times she fell asleep while smoking in bed; once she was badly burned as candles toppled while she slept. Even then, her imprimatur was one the fashion world was eager to claim. "When Edie set her apartment on fire," said Betsey Johnson, "she was in one of my dresses."

Edie moved to the Chelsea Hotel, famous for its artistic clientele, where she met Dylan - whose song "Leopardskin Pillbox Hat" she is supposed to have inspired as well - and his right-hand man, the record producer Bob Neuwirth, with whom she had an affair.

However, Jonathan Sedgwick, Edie's brother, says: "She called me up and said she'd met this folk singer in the Chelsea, and she thinks she's falling in love. I could tell the difference in her, just from her voice. She sounded so joyful instead of sad. It was later on she told me she'd fallen in love with Bob Dylan."

Some months later, he says, she told him she had been hospitalised for drug addiction and that when doctors discovered she was pregnant, they carried out an abortion, over her protests. "Her biggest joy was with Bob Dylan, and her saddest time was with Bob Dylan, losing the child. Edie was changed by that experience, very much so."

Dylan's lover of record at the time was Joan Baez. Soon after they broke up, he married Sara Lownds; Edie was said to have been devastated when she heard the news from someone else.

Even with her inheritance gone, and unable to count on money from home, Edie wouldn't economise. In all the time she lived in New York, she took the subway only once - to Coney Island, in a feathered evening gown over a bikini. The rest of the time it was limousines. She would never even settle for a taxi.

At the end of 1966, Edie went to California for Christmas. At the Chelsea, they were relieved to see her go - there would be terrible scenes in the lobby when she wasn't able to pay her bill, and she never could stop setting her room on fire.

As soon as she got home, her parents had her committed. And as soon as she could, she ran back to New York. But the spotlight never again turned her way. In 1967, her father died. A friend said: "Finally. Thank God. Now, maybe Edie can breathe."

But she became more depressed. Her money was gone, and she returned to her grandmother's apartment, to steal antiques which she sold for drug money. After eight months in increasingly grim and frightening mental hospitals, in the last of which she was made to scrub the lavatories, she returned, in 1968, to the ranch. But her drug habit had not ended, and she took up with a motorcycle gang, trading sex for heroin. "She'd ball half the dudes in town for a snort of junk," a friend said. "But she was always very ladylike about the whole thing."


In Edie's last film, Ciao! Manhattan, whose scenario was even more formless and bizarre than her own, she played a topless hitchhiker living in a tent in an empty swimming pool. There was a non-simulated orgy in a (full) swimming pool, fuelled by amphetamines and tequila. Not just Edie but the whole cast were on speed; the film-makers had to find a co-operative doctor and set up a charge account.

Edie showed off her new implants, but ascribed her larger breasts to diet and exercise. She pretended to undergo electroshock treatments - to which she was soon after subjected for real, in the hospital used for the filming. She also recreated being given a shot of amphetamine by one of the swinging doctors of the period, having to lie down because she was too thin to take it standing up.

Roger Vadim and Allen Ginsberg, the latter naked and chanting, turned up for some reason, and Isabel Jewell, the tough girl of such Thirties films as Times Square Lady and I've Been Around, played her mother. Edie would sometimes have convulsions from all the drugs she was taking. The director of the film ordered his assistant: "Tie her down if you have to."

In July 1971, in white lace, Edie married Michael Post, a student eight years younger, whom she had turned from his vow to remain a virgin until he was 21. Some guests threw confetti; one threw gravel. Edie could not live alone, she said, and would not live with a nurse. Post's job was to dole out her pills.

On 14 November, she went to a fashion show where she headed for the cameras like a woman dying of thirst to an oasis. A man she met that evening said she asked to come and see him the next day for a chat, but they would need to have sex first, otherwise she'd be too nervous to talk. The next morning, her husband woke to find her dead beside him. Whether her death was accident or suicide, the coroner was unable to determine. Post plays a bit part in the movie.

When Edie first crashed and burned, such stories of a misguided search for freedom and self-expression were rare. By the time she died, they were becoming common. Now, of course, there are too many to count. But the carefree innocence and optimism of the early Edie's photographs and films still resonate. "She was after life," said Diana Vreeland, "and sometimes life doesn't come fast enough."

Factory Girl is released in February

Tuesday, 11 August 2015

A Royal Night Out - Official UK Trailer - In Cinemas Now!

A Royal Night Out is based on the true story of the night the then princess Elizabeth and her sister, Margaret, were allowed out incognito to celebrate VE day. In this clip the pair attend a dance and meet a couple of veterans. A Royal Night Out, which stars Sarah Gadon and Emily Watson, is released in the UK on 15 May

A Royal Night Out

Monday, 10 August 2015

The British Policeman /1950s British Public Information Films : The British Policeman - 1959 - ...

The Metropolitan Police officers were unarmed to clearly distinguish them from military enforcers, which had been the system of policing seen before the 1820s. Their uniform was also styled in blue, rather than the military red. Despite the service being unarmed, the then Home Secretary, Robert Peel, gave authorisation to the Commissioner to purchase fifty flintlock pistols, for exceptional incidents that required the use of firearms. As time progressed, the obsolete flintlocks were decommissioned from service, being superseded by early revolvers. At the time, burglary (or "house breaking" as it was then called) was a common problem for police, as house breakers were usually armed. Due to the deaths of officers at the hands of armed criminals in the outer districts of the Metropolis, and after much press coverage debating whether Peel's service should be fully armed, the Commissioner applied to the Home Secretary to supply all officers on the outer districts with revolvers. These could only be issued if, in the opinion of the senior officer, the officer could be trusted to use it safely, and with discretion. From that point, officers who felt the need to be armed, could be so. The practice lasted until 1936, although the vast majority of the system was phased out by the end of the 19th century.

From 1829, to 1839, Metropolitan Police officers wore blue swallow tail coats with high collars to counter garroting. This was worn with white trousers in summer, and a cane-reinforced top hat, which could be used as a step to climb or see over walls. The sleeves of the dark blue coats originally had a pattern of white bars, roughly 6 mm wide by 50 mm high, set roughly 6 mm apart. This immediately distinguished them from naval or maritime personnel. In the early years of the Metropolitan Police, equipment was little more than a rattle to call for assistance, and a wooden truncheon. As the years progressed, the rattle was replaced with the whistle, swords were removed from service, and flintlock pistols were removed in favour of revolvers.

In 1863, the Metropolitan Police replaced the tailcoat with a tunic, still high-collared, and the top hat with the custodian helmet, which is based on the Pickelhaube. With a few exceptions (including the City of London Police, West Mercia Police, Hampshire Constabulary and States of Guernsey Police Service), most forces helmet plates carry a Brunswick star. The helmet itself was of cork faced with fabric. The design varied slightly between forces. Some used the style by the Metropolitan Police, topped with a boss, while others had a helmet that incorporated a ridge or crest terminating above the badge, or a short spike, sometimes topped with a ball.

The tunic went through many lengths and styles, with the Metropolitan Police adopting the open-neck style in 1948 (although senior and female officers adopted it before that time). Senior officers used to wear peaked pillbox-style caps until the adoption of the wider peaked cap worn today. The custodian helmet was phased out in Scotland in the early 1950s.

Female officers' uniforms have gone through a great variety of styles, as they have tended to reflect the women's fashions of the time. Tunic style, skirt length and headgear have varied by period and force. By the late 1980s, the female working uniform was virtually identical to male, except for headgear and sometimes neckwear.

Formal uniform comprises an open-necked tunic (with or without an attached belt, depending on the force and rank of the Officer) and trousers or skirt, worn with a white or light blue shirt and black tie (usually clip-on, so it cannot be used to strangle the wearer). Although most forces once wore blue shirts, these have been less used since the 1980s, and most now wear white. Officers of the rank of Inspector and above have always worn white shirts, and in many forces so have female officers. In some forces, female officers wear a black and white checked cravat instead of a tie. Officers of the rank of Sergeant and above wear rank badges on the epaulettes of their shirts, while Constables and Sergeants also wear "collar numbers" on them. Shoulder numbers in the Metropolitan Police are displayed on the shoulder of the tunic (despite the lack of epaulettes on the tunic in junior ranks) as are all rank insignia (except for that of Sergeant, which are displayed in the form of a sewn-on badge on the sleeve). No.1 dress is worn with black, polished shoes or boots. Male Constables and Sergeants in English and Welsh forces wear the Custodian Helmet with this dress, whereas the peaked cap is worn by Inspectors and above. In Scotland, all male officers now wear a peaked cap. Female officers of all forces now wear bowler hats. At more formal occasions, such as funerals and parades, white gloves are worn.

Until 1994 the No.1 Dress was also the everyday working uniform, but today it is rarely seen except on formal occasions. The normal working dress retains the shirt and trousers. In some forces short sleeved shirts may be worn open-necked. Long sleeved shirts must always be worn with a tie or cravat, worn with or without a jersey or fleece. If a jersey, fleece or jacket is worn over a short sleeved shirt, then a tie must be worn. In 2003, Strathclyde Police replaced the white shirts with black wicking T-shirts with stab vest on top, for the majority of officers on duty. Some forces use combat trousers (trousers are of a cargo pocket style i.e. two thigh pockets and two conventional side and rear pockets) and boots. Today, female officers almost never wear a skirt in working dress, and sometimes wear trousers in formal dress as well. Officers also frequently wear reflective waterproof jackets, which have replaced the old greatcoats and cloaks traditionally worn in inclement weather. Most officers now wear stab vests, a type of body armour, when on duty.

Basic headgear is a peaked cap for men, and a round bowler style hat for women. All officers wear a black and white (red and white for the City of London Police) diced band (called Sillitoe Tartan) around the hat, a distinction first used in Scotland and later adopted by all forces in Great Britain. Traffic officers wear white cap covers. On foot duty, male constables and sergeants outside Scotland wear the familiar conical custodian helmet. There are several patterns, with different forces wearing different types. Although some Scottish forces have used helmets in the past, they are no longer worn in Scotland. The only English police force to have abandoned the custodian helmet is the Thames Valley Police.

The Metropolitan Police approved the use of name badges in October 2003, and new recruits started wearing the Velcro badges in September 2004. The badges consist of the wearer's rank, followed by their surname. Senior officers wear these in No.1 Dress, due to the public nature of their role.

Increasingly officers are wearing 'Tactical' uniform to perform everyday roles as the increased level of equipment carried on the police duty belts and operational requirements expand.

Officers of the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) wear a uniform which is somewhat different, reflecting the different roots of the force and nature of the role that it carried out for much of its history. The main colour to be found is a dark and light green with the uniform looking very unlike police uniforms over in Great Britain. The RUC officially described this as 'rifle green', that is to say the same colour as used by Irish and rifle regiments of the British Army, such as the Rifles (formerly the Light Infantry and the Royal Green Jackets) and Royal Irish Regiment. This reflects the force's de facto status as more of a paramilitary force, or gendarmerie, than police forces in Great Britain. When the six new versions of the PSNI uniform were introduced, in March 2002, the term 'bottle green' was used for basically the same colour. This was perhaps seen as being a less confrontational description and having less of a military connotation, in keeping with the spirit of the time. RIC uniforms were originally a very dark green almost black colour. The custodian helmet was never worn by either the RUC or the PSNI, although a similar design known as the "night helmet" was worn on night shifts by the RUC until the early 1970s, and previously by the RIC.

The mounted police of the Greater Manchester Police and of the Merseyside Police wear a ceremonial uniform which includes a distinctive cavalry-style helmet, similar to those worn by the Household Cavalry. Mounted police in Cleveland wear a similar uniform, but with a red rather than a white plume.

Police Officers may wear mess dress to formal dinners if appropriate but is most usually worn by officers who have achieved the rank of Superintendent or above. The mess dress of the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police is dark blue with light blue facings on the lapels and includes a two-inch oak leaf lace strip on his trousers and a set of aiguillettes.

The Commissioners and other senior-ranked officers of the Metropolitan Police Service and the City of London Police wear a full dress ceremonial uniform on State and special occasions (see External links below); this includes a high-necked tunic with silver or gold trimmings and is worn with a sword and a plumed hat.

Thursday, 6 August 2015

The pith helmet / VÍDEO: Adventures In the Making of a Pith Helmet

The pith helmet (also known as the safari helmet, sun helmet, topee, sola topee, salacot or topi ) is a lightweight cloth-covered helmet made of cork or pith, typically pith from the sola, Aeschynomene aspera, an Indian swamp plant, or A. paludosa, or a similar plant. Designed to shade the wearer's head and face from the sun, pith helmets were often worn by people of European origin in the tropics, but have also been used in other contexts

Crude forms of pith helmets had existed as early as the 1840s, but it was around 1870 that the pith helmet became popular with military personnel in Europe's tropical colonies. The Franco-Prussian War had popularized the German Pickelhaube, which may have influenced the distinctive design of the pith helmet. Such developments may have merged with a traditional design from the Philippines, the salakot. The alternative name salacot (also written salakhoff) appears frequently in Spanish and French sources; it comes from the Tagalog word salacsac (or Salaksak). During the Revolution in the Philippine-American War, Emilio Aguinaldo and the Philippine revolutionary military used to wear the pith helmet borrowed from the Spaniards alongside the straw hat and the native salakot.

Originally made of pith with small peaks or "bills" at the front and back, the helmet was covered by white cloth, often with a cloth band (or puggaree) around it, and small holes for ventilation. Military versions often had metal insignia on the front and could be decorated with a brass spike or ball-shaped finial. The chinstrap could be in leather or brass chain, depending on the occasion. The base material later became the more durable cork, although still covered with cloth and frequently still referred to as "pith" helmet.

The earliest appearance of sun helmets made of pith occurred in India during the Anglo-Sikh wars of the 1840s. Adopted more widely during the Indian Mutiny of 1857–59, they were generally worn by British troops serving in the Ashanti War of 1873, the Zulu War of 1878–79 and subsequent campaigns in India, Burma, Egypt and South Africa. This distinctively shaped headwear came to be known as the Foreign Service helmet.

During the Anglo-Zulu War, British troops dyed their white pith helmets with tea, mud or other makeshift means of camouflage. Subsequently khaki-coloured pith helmets became standard issue for active tropical service.

While this form of headgear is particularly associated with both the British and the French empires, all European colonial powers used versions of it during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The French tropical helmet was first authorised for white colonial troops in 1878. The Dutch wore the helmet during the entire Aceh War (1873–1914) and the United States Army adopted it during the 1880s for use by soldiers serving in the intensely sunny climate of the Southwest United States. It was also worn by the North-West Mounted Police in policing North-West Canada, 1873 through 1874 to the North-West Rebellion and even before the Stetson in the Yukon Gold Rush of 1898.

European officers commanding locally recruited indigenous troops, as well as civilian officials in African and Asian colonial territories, used the pith helmet. White troops serving in the tropics usually wore pith helmets; although on active service they sometimes used such alternatives as the wide-brimmed slouch hats, which were worn by US troops in the Philippines and by British Empire forces in the later stages of the Boer War.

At the same time, the military adopted a broadly similar helmet, of dark blue cloth over cork and incorporating a bronze spike, for wear in non-tropical areas. This helmet led to the retirement of the shako headdress. While not considered a true "pith helmet" this headdress did resemble its tropical counterpart and during the 1890s a white version which could be worn in both the United Kingdom and India was experimentally issued to some British regiments. Modeled on the German Pickelhaube, the British Army adopted this headgear (which they called the "Home Service Helmet") in 1878. Most British line infantry, artillery (with ball rather than spike) and engineers wore the helmet until 1902, when khaki Service Dress was introduced. With the general adoption of khaki for field dress in 1903, the helmet became purely a full dress item, being worn as such until 1914.

The Home Service Helmet is still worn by some British Army bands or Corps of Drums on ceremonial occasions today. It is closely related to the custodian helmet worn by a number of police forces in England and Wales.

The US Army wore blue cloth helmets of the same pattern as the British model from 1881 to 1901 as part of their full dress uniform. The version worn by cavalry and mounted artillery included plumes and cords in the colors (yellow or red) of their respective branches of service.

Black helmets of a similar shape were also part of the uniform of the Victoria Police during the late 19th century. It may have been worn by some of the police involved in the shootout with the legendary bushranger Ned Kelly at Glenrowan, although contemporary sketches show kepis being worn.

Pith helmets were widely worn during World War I by British, Belgian, French, Austrian-Hungarian and German troops fighting in the Middle East and Africa.

Helmets of this style (but without true pith construction) were used as late as World War II by Japanese, European and American military personnel in hot climates. Included in this category are the sun helmets worn in Ethiopia by Italian troops, the Royal Netherlands East Indies Army, Union Defence Force, and Germany's Afrika Korps, as well as similar helmets used to a more limited extent by U.S. and Japanese forces in the Pacific Theater.

Pith helmets abandoned by retreating Italian forces during the North African campaign.
During the 1930s the locally recruited forces maintained in the Philippines, (consisting of the army and a gendarmerie), used sun helmets. The Axis Second Philippine Republic's military, known as the Bureau of Constabulary, as well as guerrilla groups in the Philippines also wore this headdress.

The Ethiopian Imperial Guard retained pith helmets as a distinctive part of their uniform until the overthrow of Emperor Haile Selassie I in 1974. Imperial Guard units serving in the Korean War often wore these helmets when not in actual combat.

The British Army formally abolished the tropical helmet in 1948.